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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Warehouse safety tips

Maralyn Kastel - Monday, September 01, 2014

As at 15 August 2014, there were 112 fatal accidents at work according to Safe Work Australia. Forty two of those 112 deaths were in the transport, postal and warehouse industries. During workplace inspections, the areas that almost always are a concern including forklift operations and traffic management within the warehouse.

Forklifts

Forklifts are driven in an environment that has other workers in the area, limited visibility due to racking, corners in which other drivers and workers may come around, and you have all the needed ingredients for not only accidents and injuries to occur, but also deaths.

 

What can be done to prevent accidents and promote warehouse safety?

 

Check that all forklift operators have a current High Risk Work Licence.  Is that enough? Not really, forklift safety needs to include operators, pedestrians and a forklift safety programme including:

 

  1. Operators inspecting their forklift for safety issues before operating it for the first time of the day.
  2. Removing keys from the ignition when not in use
  3. Wearing the seat belt at all times (if one is fitted)
  4. Regular refresher training or at the very least – toolbox talks on various forklift safety topics.
  5. Keeping to the speed limits and being aware of pedestrians
  6. Knowing the surroundings; inclines, uneven ground/floors, nearby racks, doorways and other people working in your area both in forklifts and on foot.
  7. Not carrying passengers at any time unless they have been specifically designed to carry two people
  8. Not driving with raised forklifts, whether loaded or empty.
Traffic management

Another aspect of warehouse safety that must be addressed is managing warehouse traffic. This includes:

 

  1. Making sure that the aisles between racks are wide enough to accommodate forklifts and the movements they need to put items on and take them off safely.
  2. Providing adequate lighting.
  3. Making sure that uneven ground is eliminated, or, if that is not possible, prominently marked.
  4. Marking pedestrian crossing areas and walkways.
  5. Using bollards and safety railings to protect battery charging areas and other exposed areas as well as keeping emergency exits clear.
  6. Marking entry and exit points to areas where forklifts are in use. Also use bollards and safety railings in these areas.
In addition to the above, train all people working within a warehouse, whether forklift drivers or not, on the hazards associated with working in a warehouse, and the appropriate measures necessary to reduce those hazards and avoid accidents.

 

Keep in mind that this article does not provide all the necessary actions needed to provide a safe warehouse working environment and simply highlights some of the issues that I regularly encounter in warehouse operations.

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